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|0307 EL: I love what I do|
|El Lechero Elements - Herdsman spotlight|
|Written by Darren Olsen, Editor|
|Wednesday, 28 February 2007 17:00|
I met Raul Hurtado just over eight years ago.Our families attended the same church, and I worked with his son in one of the children’s activity groups. At that time our acquaintance was casual and friendly, but I was always impressed with his dedication to hard work and professionalism. Nothing seemed to get in his way, and he always tried to treat everyone with respect.
Now, eight years later, our paths have crossed again. This time he stands as one of the three leading managers for a 10,000-cow dairy herd in Idaho. His drive and passion are still the same and are evident in all that he does. But to understand Raul today, you first need to understand where he has been.
Raul was raised in Campeche, Mexico where he worked with his father raising animals on a farm. He continued to gain an appreciation for them when he went to ITA where he graduated in Agronomy Engineering as a cattle specialist. He graduated with a degree in animal husbandry and continued to look for the best opportunity to work and develop.
He came to the United States in 1996 and started working for Roy Prescott in 1997 on a beef ranch. In May 1998, he started his work in the dairy industry and has stayed there ever since. He continued to progress through a series of jobs throughout south-central Idaho until just over a year and a half ago, Raul was hired as a leading manager of Beuker’s Dairy outside of Murtaugh. Since then, Raul feels he has truly found the job he has always been looking for.
For Raul, attention to detail is very important for the success of any dairy. As he stated, “We record everything. No matter what we are doing, we write it down. Every job is important and the person performing that job is important. I need to know what people are doing and when they are doing it. If I don’t know what is happening, how can it be fixed if something goes wrong?”
And the attention to detail can be seen by the results of the dairy. One example is in the calving barn. It is a very busy place with 30 to 40 calves arriving daily. The delivery of every calf is monitored and assistance offered when needed. Each delivery is rated, recorded and calves are to receive their first bottle of colostrom within one hour after being delivered. A second bottle is to follow within the next three hours, and the results are monitored with blood tests. If anything irregular turns up, Raul knows what should have been done and can go directly to those who cared for the calf to see what happened. The end result is a calf loss rate lower than 6 percent.
These results can be seen throughout the entire dairy, as all areas strive for excellence. As part of a management team, Raul says, “As managers of the dairy, we work together. We share ideas and try to do our best to help each other out. We appreciate what we are able to do and that each manager has strong points. We need each other to be the best we can be as a team.”
That philosophy is shared with all the employees. Anyone wanting to work at Beuker’s Dairy will find that attention to details and attention to the team are critical. “When we start a new employee, we try to find out what they are best at and help them grow in that area. Not everyone likes to milk but that may be the best place for them. Everyone thinks they want to drive tractors or be outside, but it takes everyone to make the dairy work. We start everyone at the same pay and try to keep raises based on time and merit.”
For Raul, working on the dairy is something he has always wanted to do and his drive for excellence comes out in everything he does. As I was getting ready to leave, I asked him what was his secret to success.
He simply summed it up, “I love what I do.” EL